Does the Nissan GTR have anything to do with the Lexus LF-A delay?

Lexus LF-A

Looks like whatever the problem was yesterday has been solved, because the Lexus LF-A was seen moving on its own power today, no doubt prepping for its time on Nürburgring. With that in mind, Motor Trend seems to think the real reason the LF-A has been absent from the ‘ring for so long is that Lexus is scared of the Nissan GTR:

Maybe it’s just the way Toyota’s testing is scheduled (according to our spies at the ‘Ring, the LF-A has resurfaced and should be on track shortly). But I wonder. Has the GT-R got Toyota running scared?

Toyota’s problem is this: The GT-R has set the performance bar incredibly high for the next Japanese supercar. And Toyota being Toyota, delivering a supercar that’s second-best to a Nissan is unthinkable, especially if it’s going to carry the Lexus badge. The LF-A has to be faster than the GT-R, in a straight line, and around the legendary Nordschliefe. Otherwise it risks being perceived a failure.

I think it’s safe to say that it’s just the way Toyota’s testing is scheduled, though there is merit in the idea. I wouldn’t limit it to just Lexus though, the GTR has to have every supercar manufacturer a little nervous.

(That being said, it’s funny that the other story of the day is Autoweek preferring the IS-F over the GTR.)

[Photo from Jalopnik]

Autoweek Comparison: Lexus IS-F vs. Nissan GTR

Lexus IS-F vs. Nissan GTR

I’ve been waiting for a magazine to compare the Lexus IS-F and the Nissan GTR for a while now, and Autoweek has done just that, though it’s a much friendlier affair than the usual head-to-head:

The GT-R is the faster car, but it is not necessarily better to drive. With the cars hot-shoed back-to-back, the character of the Lexus makes up for its power and overall speed deficit. When you tickle the throttle in mid-corner, the rear end is in your hands, controlled easily as it helps you steer. The V8 begs to be revved and loves to be machine-gunned through the eight-speed ‘box.

The suspension is really the only thing that disappoints in the IS-F. Certainly, it performs wonderfully on a daily basis and around town, but it lacks the composure and feedback desired for roads that enthusiasts seek out. Ideally, Lexus would offer the active suspension, as Nissan does, giving drivers a firmer setup for spirited drives…

In comparison, the GT-R takes things a step further, with far more brake feel and power. And still, although the GT-R is flat-out faster, the IS-F manages to be more satisfying to drive.

Ok, definitely not the verdict I was expecting. At all.

I suppose it’s to be expected, but I’m always surprised at how much subjectivity there is in car reviews. When the initial reviews of the IS-F came in last year, it was a common complaint that the ride was too harsh, yet this review calls for something even stiffer.

New Lexus LF-A Spy Shots

Lexus LF-A Spy Shots

The good news: Two new Lexus LF-A prototypes were just spotted at Nürburgring, which could quite possibly mean that the rumored development problems may finally be solved.

The bad news: The LF-A had to be pushed into the garage, which could quite possibly mean that the rumored development problems may still be causing trouble.

You can check Leftlane News for more photos, if you’re so inclined, and we’ll be looking out for any more updates of the LF-A on the ‘ring.

Hennessey to Tune Lexus IS-F

2008 Lexus IS-F

Best known for for their insanely souped-up Dodge Vipers, Hennessey Performance Engineering will be turning their attention on the Lexus IS-F:

In an interview with Inside Line, John Hennessey dropped some broad hints as to his next project: “We have a new IS-F coming in next week. Our plan with that car is to test some headers, exhaust and air induction items first. Then maybe a blower.”

This information is confirmed on the Hennessey website, which promises “Air Induction Kits, Stainless Headers & Exhaust Systems, Ported Cylinder Heads, Supercharger Systems & More.” All of this adds up to over-the-top, genuinely ridiculous speed, which I find entirely questionable. Does the IS-F really need more power?

Lexus Performance Driving Academy

Lexus Performance Driving Academy

Last month, it was announced that the annual Taste of Lexus traveling test drive tour would be discontinued and replaced with smaller, more targeted events. The reasoning was that too many current owners were taking part, even making up 75% of the audience in some locations.

Regardless of how much sense it makes to close down the traditional ToL tour, the first replacement event, dubbed the Lexus Performance Driving Academy, has been announced, and will be visiting four racetracks across the US:

  • May 9 – 11, 2008 Autobahn Circuit in Joliet, Illinois
  • May 30 – June 1, 2008 Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California
  • June 27 – 29, 2008 Summit Point Motorsports Park in Summit Point, West Virginia
  • July 11 – 13, 2008 Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia

The tour dates will be broken into two distinct events:

The events are invite only, though there is a waiting list should there be any cancellations. You must be 21 and have a US drivers license.